“Aayiye Polio Mitaayen,” read the slogan etched on the back of bright yellow jackets sported by the 150-odd men and women sitting in the auditorium of S.V.S. Kalyana Mandapam on Sunday. The combination of yellow jackets and blue caps added a sparkle to the ‘Polioplus Planning and Orientation Meet’ that deliberated the existing state of affairs in terms of polio instances in the country, effective means to eradicate the social malady and the role of the Rotary in specific in the anti-polio drive. The meet was organised by the Rotary Club of Vijayawada Sree Durga.

Endemic countries

“India continues to be one of the four endemic polio countries along with Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Most of India’s 350 polio cases this year have come from the two States of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. We, as Rotarians, have a special role to play in motivating people to participate in the drive against the ailment that can cripple the society if not contained effectively,” cautioned Sam Patibandla, past Rotary Governor and a member of the Indian National Polioplus Committee. He said, though currently Andhra Pradesh was polio-free, Rotarians must not rest until they made sure that each child was covered under the Pulse Polio drive. He also spoke about the polio eradication strategy, Rotary’s role in immunisation, national immunisation days and reasons for non-immunisation. Vijayawada MP Lagadapati Rajagopal said despite best efforts by the government, in association with non-governmental organisations and service organisations like the Rotary, the problem persisted mainly due to lack of awareness. “We cannot afford to relax. Don’t rest until the country is officially declared polio-free nation,” he called upon the Rotarians.

‘Commendable job’

The MP patted the Rotary Club for its exemplary work in this field. He said the Rotarians had also done a commendable job in helping the Krishna district administration in meeting the needs of the flood-affected victims in rehabilitation camps.

District chairman of Polioplus Committee P. Damodar Reddy spoke on ‘Hands on participation – the key’. District Governor of Rotary Dist. 3020 Ch. Kishore Kumar, Club president G.V.G.K. Prasad and others were present.

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